Auto Window Tinting: Legal Considerations To Be Aware Of

Vehicle owners might not at first assume that auto window tinting is legally regulated, but state governments consider window tinting regulations important to ensuring safety out on the road.

Every state has laws that regulate window tinting, and vehicle owners might want to consult these laws before having their windows tinted. Laws dictating window tinting standards are found in a state's vehicle code or traffic code.

Any of the following car accessories or services could fall under "window tinting" and being subject to such state laws:

  • Window film- Putting window film on a vehicle's windows involves heat-shrinking tinted film to the surface of windshield or window glass. This is typically done "after-market", or after a vehicle is purchased from a dealer. 
  • "Shade bands"- Devices called "shade bands" are put along the top of the windshield to protect the driver's and passenger's eyes from the sun.
  • Sunscreen devices- A variety of different types of sunscreen devices can be temporarily attached to windshields or windows, often with suction ups. Even these temporary devices are typically subject to state law requirements. 

What factors are detailed in window tinting laws?

Typically, state window tinting laws will detail what "light transmittance" or "luminous reflectance" levels are appropriate for window tinting apparatuses. Only a supply manufacturer or window tinting service provider (such as one from MidAmerica Tint) is likely to understand or make adjustments to meet such regulations.

Government inspectors and professional service providers might use devices that measure light transmission to ensure that vehicles are meeting legal requirements. An example of such a device is a photometer. 

Where can information be found regarding window tinting laws?

If you'd like to read over the requirements that are in effect in your state, you can find information on state specific laws on the DMV website of your state or on the state Department of Public Safety's website. For example, window tinting standards enforced in the state of Texas are detailed on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.

Medical exemptions to window tinting requirements

In some cases, exceptions are made to window tinting laws for drivers with certain medical conditions. Some possible medical conditions that might qualify a driver for an exemption include lupus, photosensitivity, melanoma, or sunlight allergies. 

Drivers with medical conditions that make them more sensitive to light may qualify for an exemption, but they typically need to apply with the state DMV before an exemption is recognized and allows drivers to get out of citations for violations.